Rocketing Into 2018!

We had a very exciting afternoon trying out one of High Five’s Christmas gifts. We hope that your New Year is off to an exhilarating start as well.

Advertisements

Elegantly Eleven

Five of Heart’s turned eleven yesterday, but chose to celebrate her birthday today. This year she decided she wanted to get dressed up and visit one of the many wonderful restaurants in Portland. The first part of her birthday present came earlier last week when we paid a special visit to our local thrift store to search through the eclectic collection of clothes, shoes, and accessories for a fabulous new outfit. She ended up leaving the store with enough clothes for several outfits (thrift store prices are the best!) plus one extra fancy ensemble for her special day.

Five of Hearts then spent several hours doing research online to select the perfect birthday restaurant. With so many vegan friendly restaurants in the area it was a daunting task (they all sound so good). However, after reading hundreds of reviews and perusing several menus Five of Hearts selected KaTi Portland.

It turns out that all that research paid off big time as we had a fabulous lunch at KaTi Portland. The atmosphere was perfect and the food was amazing. Five of Hearts ordered her first curry and handled the spicy flavor like a champ.

After enjoying some of the best Thai food that we have had in years we headed to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) to check out the Gingerbread Adventures exhibit. Like seasoned food judges we had a blast viewing the five gigantic gingerbread sculptures with a critical eye and then voting on our favorite.

After a delicious outing it was time to return home for our turn at making food magic. We watched Vegan Cupcake Wars and then made vegan coconut raspberry cupcakes with coconut whipped frosting. Five of Hearts paired the cupcakes with one of her favorite movies, Trolls, and we ended the day dancing and feeling like “the world is all cupcakes and rainbows”.

Let It Snow!

When we moved from Montana to Vancouver, WA we warned the kids that we would not be having a “white” Christmas this year. After a very snowy winter in Montana last year we wanted to prepare them for a rainy winter in the Northwest. The kids just laughed and assured us that it would snow for Christmas. They were sure of it. So, early this morning when the snow started to fall it was no surprise for them. As the flakes continued to fall throughout the day they enjoyed their time out in the snow as well as the satisfaction of proving mom and dad wrong.

A Driving Blind

As December comes to a close so does our Family Big Year. Although, December is a crazy busy month for us we made time recently to check out the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge in an attempt of adding a few more bird species to our Big Year list.

The Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge is a birder’s paradise with over 5,300 acres of water, wood, and field habitat for birds. From October to May visitors must stay in their cars to avoid disturbing wintering waterfowl. However, there is a 4 mile road through the refuge that visitors are allowed to drive, which gives great viewing access. In addition the refuge offers a guided auto-tour via CD that provides an overview of the refuge and the wildlife species that might be seen.

While most of the refuge is closed to foot traffic during the fall and winter there is a viewing blind that remains open and can be accessed via a short path. The blind looks out on one of the ponds and provides a great view of Tundra Swans, Coots, and other waterfowl.

Although, birding while driving can be a little bit difficult (especially for the driver) it is a really great way to see a large number of species in a relatively short period of time. During our visit we counted over 15 different species of birds and hundreds of individuals. We also added one new species to our Family Big Year list bringing our total up to 114!